Friday, December 17, 2004

Final Game Statement

Computerized gaming has emerged into a global phenomenon, and I am drawn to it for many different reasons. While my favorite memories of games, have all been social interaction, or team based games, I find myself playing computerized games on a normal basis. I am also very interested in this social scene that is developing as a result of this kind of mechanical play. I chose to develop a computerized game in order to better understand my, and the millions of other peoples fascination, and relationships with essentially hardware, and programs.
I think meaningful play has helped my development of the game the most. By reading many definitions of what actual "game" entails really enhanced my perspective of why I am drawn to specific games. However, I don't feel that any of the readings addressed why games play has become such a imbedded part of society (especially video games.), and what the long term affects of this powerful new trend in American culture is going to be.
I feel that when the majority of the class came to my house and played the game, meaningful play of sorts was achieved. To reiterate my definition of meaningful play, it would be any kind of play, within a gaming genre, that produces, competition, perfection, social interaction, or a dialogue of some kind with either the other players, or players within the gaming structure. However, they were not all the reactions I was expecting.
"Lonely City," was designed to be a visual art project that produced a dialogue with the player and the game itself, to achieve meaningful play. We attempted to formulate this relationship by incorporating visually stimulating aesthetics, with problem-solving, meaningful decision making, and very developed player interactions. And while I don't feel that the game in its present state truly utilizes these aspects, we have definitely developed the foundation for the more in-depth elements to rest upon.
We have purposely removed elements of competitiveness, or time based strategy in order to allow the core mechanic of the game to be visual problem solving. We wanted to achieve an enjoyable game that is responsive to the player's actions, but has continued themes to encourage a dialogue with the player. The many game themes all revolve around questions of self, and self-discovery, as well as how that reflects the surroundings of the character.
While the class played our game I began to observe meaningful, and emergent play develop in conjunction with each other. I think that by having a group of people watching a single person playing the game, encouraged competitiveness. My favorite example was when Ghihad first started playing, and was essentially dissed off the computer, when failing to achieve a certain level of competency. The spectators who were offering encouragement, and criticism to the player encouraged me that the game was creating personal cognitive responses.
It is true that within the production of "The Lonely City," the main problem was the development of the game. But I feel that the game was designed so that it could serve as a platform for player engagement. There were some technical difficulties that prevented these ambitions to be fulfilled on Wednesday, but I am confident that they will soon emerge. While the development of a game was incredibly frustrating it was at the same time illuminating. And I feel that the decision making involved in the production of the game were greatly informed, and influenced by a new way of understanding game, and play. On a personal level I have found a new appreciation for all gaming genres, and however frustrating the production of the game was, I am deeply encouraged to continue exploration in this genre.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Calvin and I have named our game the lOneLy cIty. The name reflects the player interacts with the background, and how the location is presented in the game.
We are in the process of making a video game, which doesn't require much physical action. But there is lots of sitting, and clicking on the mouse. But there is a lot of problem solving, and game play that provokes natural interpretation and analytical thought, as well as, aesthetic and audible interpretation.
Some adjectives I would use to describe the game would be revealing, mysterious, involving, and essentially thought provoking. However, at the moment the game might also be sketchy, and/or frustrating.
The genre, and program we used is for old school, classic 2-D games. the program was easily available, and fairly easy to understand.
Our game would be categorized under computer gaming. I wanted to explore this genre formally, and try to ingrate my own aesthetic practices into a digital role playing, semi-narrative, game. I am also very interested in learning computer gaming programs, in order to explore the possibilities of game as Art.
Only one person can play at a time. But everyone can play it.
It is for this reason we do not want the game to be site-specific, and maybe have it available to anyone on the internet.
We have tried to separate our game from the rest of computer games by really approaching it as an art project. We have created the narrative, and meaningful play of the game to create a substantial dialogue between the player, and programer.
The core mechanic of the game is visual problem solving. The game has many underlying themes which all revolve around questions of self, and self discovery. The two are inseparable and developed together.
Hopefully the player will experience first a meaningful engagement with the decision making, which will hopefully create a lasting impression on the player, who can then draw parallels of the game into their own lives.
We were constricted by the rules of the program, but there are some nice end scenarios which result from how each individual interprets the game, and its these elements I find most gratifying.
The hardest elements to figure out where are how the objects, and characters in the game affect the players progress, as well as how to visually integrate these object into background, a troubling problem I have yet to overcome.
The most obvious thing I learned from the first beta testing, including my own beta testing, is that the size of the character really affects the gaming experience But that maybe we could work the programs faults to create a unique cognitive experience while playing.
I am very hopeful that the game will turn out on point. But its just so much work that, and sometime I question putting in all this effort, to something i can't ultimately control.
Something I might do differently next time would create the models for the backgrounds. I could do this with drawings, or even miniatures. yeah i think that would be awesome.
At the moment I definitely don't think that the world needs more computer games, but I am attempting to confront what this global trend, and perhaps influence a genre that has been dominated by Kitsch.
I believed a well designed game creates extremely meaningful play, which is intertwined with elements of competition, perfection, or even more importantly social interactions, or dialogues produced by the game.
I think meaningful play has helped me develop the game the most. By reading many definitions of what a game is really enhanced my perspective of why I am drawn to specific games. However, I don't feel that any of the readings addressed why games play such a crucial in society (especially video games.), and what the long term affects that are being caused by such a new powerful trend in American culture.
I found working in a game genre as rewarding, but at the same time extremely frustrating. parts of the developmental process feels like manual labour, although with out the benefit of physical excursion. But if I end up producing a quality product, it will be all good. And the fact is that with my medium of choice (painting) I am constantly frustrated in myself, so perhaps it's all relative.
The world should know that gaming programs are essentially a tools, which can they be used for Art, Kitsch or varying degrees of perversion.
(I will answer the reading question whn i have the reader with me)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Final Game Progress

We (Calvin and I) have been spending a lot of time on the initial development of the game. We have been learning, and understanding the intricacies of the program, and are finding new ways to utilize our new knowledge in the gaming experience. Today we have taken digital pictures of the locations, and scenes that will form the environment of the game. We are going to create the whole structure of the game first, and then build it up gradually as a whole, opposed to finishing a single location one at a time. As well as working on the demanding technical aspects of the game, we have also been working and restructuring the story and narrative of the game in order to establish meaningful play. My definition of meaningful play is the satisfaction, and self fulfillment I get during and after play. I think we can create this without the need of competitive scoring, or intense losing scenarios. The reconstruction of the story is focused on creating an emotional, personal connection with the characters, or situation of the game, and at the same time making it more challenging to reach the final end game scenario. We are planning to do this- with help of Grey's valuable input- by adding many more arbitrary objects, and developing the characters in the game, and how they function with the resource of information. We are also working to create more meaningful decisions for the player to make; which could function in early end game scenarios, and different character reactions. Soon we will be focused on the extremely labor intensive development of creating rooms, objects, interactions, character responses, animated cut scenes-and things of that technical nature........AAAAAHHHHHH

Final game progress

So far we (Calvin and I) have been spending a lot of time learning about, and understanding the intricacies of the program. We have also taken digital pictures of the locations, and perimeter of the game. We think the bast development strategy is to create the fundamental structure, and build the game up gradually as a whole, as opposed to finishing the rooms one by one. The other area which we are directing our efforts has been the development of a story- and meaningful play. Perhaps meaningful play, -or at least the way I define my meaningful play- has to do with a sense of fulfillment, or satisfaction upon completion of a game. That is why I feel it would be inappropriate to make it competitive or intense, and instead focus on attributes of the game which will allow players to become more emotionally involved with the character, and the situations. We have also been working with intertwining, meaningful decisions, and different ways to end the game. We already have many ideas which will not be that hard to implement when we have the game more developed. With help from Grey input we are also working on making getting through the game more difficult, and less obvious to complete.- this also includes more developed character who actually misguide you, which could result in ending the game early, or taking the wrong item.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Jay's human robotron

Jay's human robotron is based on a lucary attitude system of actual play. There is lots of running, hopping, jumping, and best of all shooting. It is energizing, abrasive, wild, and if your the one shooting it almost reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead, the feeling can only be described as "wicked awesome."
Jay's prototype lacked some structure, but I thought it was very innovative to play it on the checkered floor of the school roof. But does that make the game to site specific? It involves little strategy, but the game is unlimitedly customizable. For example, there could be a more role playing attribute where everyone has to dress like robots, or wear skin tight dresses. I think the rules were expressed fairly well, and I don't think that they have to be extremely stead fast. But I do think there has to be a robot chant, or robot music to allow the robots to move in unison, may I suggest "we are the robots," a Kraftwerk original. So I would give the rules an 8 out of 10...I thought the game was a blast...Literally.

Grey's Frisco Wars

I will be writing on Grey's game entitled, “Frisco Wars.” I was immediately intrigued by the unique design of the board game platform, which is reminiscent of risk. The game requires a lot of thought, and planning, but also encourages communication between players. On one level this game provokes strategic, turn based decision making, and at the same time I found it humorous, and social.
For the most part I found that Grey's prototype was very structured, but lacked some definitive detail. As I watched others play test his game, I hoped that in the final version of his game, he would be able to not rely so heavily on the “risk” type board-game engine. I remember there being slight inequalities of resources, (when the cards were handed out randomly.) As it stands the game has essentially the strategic, and competitive properties of a generic war based board game, but what makes it fun is the creative customization of the map, the player's movement, as well as the battling cards.
The rules were expressed so well, it was as if there was an explosion.. In the brain 10!
I think there is strategy in the game, but is not yet fully developed. You must be strategic in the way you handle the troops, and take over bus routes. I think that there are still many unexplored possibilities for deeper strategic play. I didn't really see any emergent play developing, but I think that the way players conversed, especially during battles was unexpected. Perhaps, in the final version of the game Grey should encourage the same type of role-playing within the entire structure of the game. One possible route would be distinctive teams, which all had different characteristics, or emergent characteristics (boosting stats as an idea.) I would like to see a method of currency develop in the game, which would complicate strategic positioning of troops. I think having police would be a good idea to maybe limit players weapons, son for example if a player has to many guns, the fuzz goes after him. I think overall it's an awesome idea for a game, and I am really excited about playing the final project.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Chess is the apex of meaningful play for all the right reasons. It first creates new roles, and characteristics for inert three-dimensional figures. Inside the magic circle Chess ignites new modes of thought and creates uncanny situations of perception and suspense. The actions and decisions taken part in chess are both discernable, for example gaining the immediate advantage by capturing a key piece, or getting your opponents king in check. Yet, what separates chess from almost all other games is that every single move is an integrated part within the big picture of the game. There is absolutely no luck in chess, so that players have complete control over all the actions on the board. Few games can even compare to the amount of skill, and strategy required being a competitive chess player. It is arguable that Black has a greater chance to fail then White, yet the predictability of chess is extremely complicated, and elusive. The confined movements and numbers of the pieces will always be equal for both players, requiring only an advancement in thought process and technique, which I think is the root of Meaningful play.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

the foundation for crazyness

There are two different games I am contemplating designing.
The first one will be created on a computer, and will be played over the over the internet. I will collaborate with Calvin on this project.
-It would be amazing to be able to design, and create a massively multiplayer on line game, but I don't think it is practical, so it seems like the game will be solo player
-The game will be played on a computer, but the actual game will take place in real life locations such as SFAI, and we will hopefully also be able to integrate people, who may not be aware of it, into the game.
-The game will be a persistent type game, with a slow paced, methodical build up, I envision something like the adventure game that ender play's in the book “Enders game.”
The other game I would like to design is a social, community based game
-The game will be best played with a small, to medium sized group of friends maybe 5-15 people
-I don't want the game to be site specific, I like the idea of being able to play it anywhere you can sit in a circle. However, it would still be possible to integrate any environment into the game
-The game will not have a specific time limit, but hopefully will be designed to last roughly twenty minutes, or the player decide to end it.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Parking my rainbow garage

The rules of parking my rainbow garage
-everyone is split into teams of three
-the object is to find object that much the color of the parking garage
-the level of the parking garage determines how many object you must find
for example third level-blue, you would have to find three blue objects
-you mark a found object with a piece of chalk
-once an object has been marked it cannot be used again by another team
-the objects marked must be found within the parking garage (you cant bring in outside colors)
-teams cannot advance to another level until they have found all specified objects
-the first team to find all colors on all levels wins
-the team that looses is humiliated and dishonored
-you automatically loose if a team member is hit by a car
this game is about consumerism , and greed